On July 9, representatives of the Fishing and Aquaculture Department of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) held a meeting with representatives of Civil Society Organisations (CSO). FAO plans to introduce a proposal for a rights based approach for captured fisheries.

The purpose of the meeting was to get the view of CSOs on the new proposed rights based approach.

According to Mandy Booys, who is currently attending the 32nd Committee on Fisheries (COFI) in Italy the CSOs said that it was apparent during the meeting that the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries (VGSSF) with its human based rights approach is being challenged by a rights based approach.

“What was evident from the meeting was that the rights based approach seems to promote individual, private property rights while the human based rights approach is more collective, taking into account the fishing community at large,” said Booys.

With the proposed introduction for a rights-based approach for captured fisheries representatives of the World Forum of Fisher Peoples (WFFP) and the World Forum of Fish Harvesters & Fish Workers (WFF) among others questioned the intention of this approach.

Editrudith Lukanga from WFF suggested that this new rights based initiative should rather be implemented as a capacity building component in the VGSSF instead of running parallel to it.

“WFFP, WFF and the International Collective in Support of Fish Workers (ICSF) clearly articulated that this is seen as undermining when taking into account all the effort that has gone into the development of the SSF guidelines,” Booys stated.

Small-Scale Fisheries open discussion, COFI side event

On Tuesday, 12th of July, ICSF, WFFP, WFF hosted a side event during COFI adressing the implementation of the VGSSF. CSO foot soldiers such as Mrs Lukanga (WFF), Ms Ravadee Prasertcharoensuk (ICSF) and Mr Naseegh Jaffer (WFFP) among others lobbied various governments to attend this crucial event.

An open discussion, the event encouraged participants to share views and experiences of promoting the role of small-scale fisheries in food security and poverty eradication.

“The ultimate goal is to contribute to empowering small-scale fishing communities to improve their livelihoods and to promote a common understanding of the SSF Guidelines implementation approach,” continued Booys.

The discussion was facilitated by Naseegh Jaffer, with panellists including Editrudith Lukanga of WFF, Philip Seufert from FoodFirst Information and Action Network (FIAN) International, Richard Oginga of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Antonio Onorati of Crocevia, Ratana Chuanpagdee from Too Big To Ignore as well as FAO representives within the Fishing and Aquaculture Department.


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